Scottish international winger Matt Phillips has once again been linked with a potential £11m move to Newcastle United, with the Daily Mail claiming that we – along with Cardiff and Middlesbrough – are ‘showing interest’.
He’s a player who the media has sounded out as a transfer target for Rafa, and as with so many of the players who fall into this category, his name seems to crop up one summer after the next.
The running joke among Toon fans on Twitter was that Swiss midfielder Tranquillo Barnetta had been kept against his will in the Jesmond Dean hotel for the past 4 years whilst the Newcastle hierarchy haggled over the deal, and if these links with Phillips persist then maybe we can assume the pair of them now share neighbouring rooms?
— NUFC 360 (@NUFC360) July 14, 2018
The thinking goes along the lines of Phillips arriving as back-up, should we lose Matt Ritchie to Stoke – and replace him with former schemer Andros Townsend. Although it sounds like Townsend will be staying at Palace if Roy Hodgson’s comments today are anything to go by.
Sure enough, Phillips might be a half-decent squad acquisition, but a meagre return of 10 goals in 109 premier league games whilst at Blackpool, QPR and West Brom will doubtless leave even the most optimistic of supporters highly dubious as to his ability to improve the starting XI.
At 27, Phillips still has a lot of fuel left in the tank, and there’s something to be said for Benitez’s ability to vastly improve players, then get the best out of them, but whether he could transform Phillips into the sort of quality that most fans expect Newcastle to target is certainly up for debate.
Would you like to see Matt Phillips in the black and white stripes, or are you hoping that we avoid him once again this summer?